Civil War Times June 2011

27 04 2011

Inside this issue:

Letters:

  • Correction of tables that were erroneously flipped in Edward Bonekemper’s article on U. S. Grant in the April 2011 issue.
  • Gregg Biggs disputes Gary Gallagher’s thesis on the importance of the Eastern Theory put forth in his essay in the February 2011 issue.

Blue & Gray

  • Gary Gallagher discusses the historiography of James Longstreet.

Collateral Damage

Your host this time looks at the “Squire” Bottom house on the Perryville battlefield. Thanks go out to author and Bull Runnings reader Dr. Kenneth Noe and to Kurt Holman of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. I’m mortified that the acknowledgements did not make the final print version.

Field Guide

  • Bjorn Skaptason show us the Civil War sites of Chicago, IL – don’t laugh, there are more than you think.

Interview

  • Eric Campbell, for years a favorite interpretive ranger at Gettysburg NMP, talks about the challenges of his new job at Cedar Cree & Bell Grove National Historical Park.

Letter from the Editor

  • Editor Dana Shoaf introduces the features, and disputes (as do I) some of the monuments chosen as Gettysburg’s “worst” in one of them.

Features

  • Bread or Blood - Stephanie McCurry on female dissent in the Confederacy.
  • Immortals: Where to Find Gettysburg’s Best and Worst Monuments – Kim O’Connell’s text and Eric Forberger’s photos look at the arguably good and the arguably bad. Personally, I disagree with some choices on both lists, but then I’m one of those weirdos who believe fingers should be longer than toes.
  • Landscape of Remembrance – Philip Kennicott delves into the history of the Manassas National Battlefield Park, warts and all.
  • First Manassas Campaign Map – David Fuller has produced a very fine map, oriented with north to south running left to right, which gives a better overall picture of the movements of the troops, complete with an OOB and four inset maps. Nice! I’m trying to get a good copy to post here. Wish me luck!
  • Hell  in the Harbor - Adam Goodheart on the shelling of the Federal garrison at Ft. Sumter. Photo captions by Craig Swain.
  • Where is Meade? - Tom Huntington tells us “how Union General George G. Meade became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War.”

Reviews





Blue & Gray Magazine Vol. XXVII, #5

26 04 2011

For twenty-seven years, Blue & Gray magazine has been putting out about six issues every year, each issue focusing on a battlefield in minute detail. Do the math: that’s about 160 issues, right? Subtracting the 130 issues that have featured Gettysburg, that still leaves about 30 opportunities to cover First Bull Run. Amazingly, the current issue is the first to highlight our favorite little skirmish.

Well, better late than never.

The magazine and Manassas National Battlefield Park ranger Henry Elliot have produced a fine work with an overview of the campaign, detail of the battle, solid tour guide, and wonderful maps of First Bull Run. Hurrah for this issue! There are twenty maps and a full Order of Battle. Footnotes. Illustrations. The works!

Buy this one today.

(Quibble: I disagree with Mr. Elliot’s assertion on page 8 that “McDowell needed to preserve his numerical advantage over Beauregard.” I’ve said it many times before and am comfortable with the fact that I sit way out here by myself in my position: McDowell never thought he would have a numerical superiority – he never thought he would maintain or gain one at any point in his planning, and therefore his plan did not depend on numerical superiority. For my most recent post on this, see here.)





Special: Weider History Group, “1861”

25 04 2011

I received a copy of Weider History Groups 1861: Hell Breaks Loose in the mail a couple of weeks ago. This $9.99, 106 page magazine features “31 stories of the Civil War’s first year by those who lived it.” Other than Harold Holzer’s introduction, all of the articles are either contemporary accounts or memoirs. I’m guessing that we’ll be seeing additional issues for each year of the sesquicentennial.

The articles cover a road range of subjects, and appear in chronological order. The usual suspects appear: The Anaconda Plan; Sumter Under Attack; Ugly Defeat at Bull Run; A Victor Remembers Ball’s Bluff. But some less well-known stories are told as well: Buchanan Blames the North; Sam Huston Defies Confederacy; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wish; Woman Jailed Without Trial. The final article looks back on 1861 in review.

Nicely illustrated with many full-page images, 1861: Hell Breaks Loose is a nice overview of the first year of the war.





Preview: Jeffry Wert, “A Glorious Army”

21 04 2011

I received a copy of Jeffry D. Wert’s new book, A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863, from the good folks at Simon & Schuster. I first met Jeff about 13 years ago during a seminar in Gettysburg, and the next year got to spend a few days with him and Joseph Harsh at the back of a bus during a tour of Second Manassas. Good times. Jeff is a very down to earth, good guy (even if he’s a Braves fan), and his writing reflects his common sense approach to history. Back in the day I know he didn’t do email, but I sent a note to Simon & Schuster to see if he’d be able to participate in an e-interview for Bull Runnings. I’ll let you know how that goes – I haven’t heard back from them yet. From the jacket:

A Glorious Army draws on the latest scholarship, including letters and diaries, to provide a brilliant analysis of Lee’s triumphs. It offers fresh assessments of Lee; his top commanders Longstreet, Jackson, and Stuart; and a shrewd battle strategy that still offers lessons to military commanders today. A Glorious Army is a dramatic account of major battles from Seven Days to Gettysburg that is as gripping as it is convincing, a must-read for anyone interested in the Civil War.”





Preview: Mingus & McClure, “Civil War Voices from York County, PA”

20 04 2011

Scott L. Mingus, Sr. sent me a copy of his latest, Civil War Voices from York County, PA: Remembering the Rebellion and the Gettysburg Campaign, co-written with James McClure. Scott is now officially prolific – check out his author page on Amazon. Jim McClure is the editor of the York Daily Record newspaper and the author of several books on the history of York County, Pa.

With this book, numerous primary sources – newspaper accounts, letters, diaries, even oral histories – are brought together to tell the story of York County in south-central PA, where North meets South at the Pennsylvania and Maryland border. It’s an interesting and revealing collection of stories and anecdotes, just the thing for folks interested in the Gettysburg Campaign in particular but also in how the war affected this unique community.





Preview: Scott Patchan, “The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton”

19 04 2011

I received Scott C. Patchan’s The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton: The 1864 Shenandoah Campaign from The History Press in the mail last week. This is an updated version of Scott’s earlier work, The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Peidmont, Virginia (1996). But this is no simple reprint: it’s a substantial rewrite with more maps. Scott informs me that his is the only book that correctly describes the role played by Vaughn’s Tennessee brigade – they did not simply sit back and watch the defeat. For the first time the actions of units like the 28th Ohio, Thomas Legion and Brewer’s Battalion are accurately described as well. In addition, Scott describes a number of battlefield and campaign sites.

The book is 154 pages of text, with 20 pages of notes and a full bibliography listing a number of unpublished manuscript sources. It’s also liberally illustrated with photographs, engravings and maps.





Lottery for Bull Run 150th Event

19 04 2011

Friend Craig Swain hipped me to this announcement of a lottery for tickets to the shindig.

A limited number of tickets for the July 21 Manassas 150th Commemorative Ceremony will be made available through a lottery.

The morning ceremony near the Manassas National Battlefield Park visitor center on Henry Hill will feature a keynote address by Dr. Ed Ayers and music by the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Only those with tickets will have access to the Henry Hill area of the battlefield during the event. The area is expected to re-open to visitors at noon.

Four thousand tickets to the special ceremony will be distributed through an online lottery. Applications will be accepted from 10 am April 27 through 10 pm May 4. Winners will be notified by email on May 9.

For more information on the event and the ticket lottery: www.virginiacivilwar.org/manassas.php

As of now, I have no plans to attend – but it sounds like fun.








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